Service 101: The Rise of the Service Jedi

Hospitality ninja
Service Jedi Illustration by Brooke Burton

Lots of people pursue careers in restaurants, hotels, medicine, and politics. Most in these service industries see their work as great a way to make a living. But rare are the individuals who perceive their job—as a server, hotel receptionist, technician, doctor, chef, bell hop, county worker, or clerk—as a calling.

In a microcosm of service workers, there is a faction of workers who go out of their way to give generously of themselves to others as a way to make the world a better place—one simple act at a time. These unique folk practice a rare art form of hospitality when they employ the humble ideals of compassion, empathy, and humility in the workplace.

I like to call this radical group, the Service Jedi.

Like the peace-making warriors of the Star Wars cannon, The Service Jedi are a band of unique individuals who study, serve, and use an unseen force of goodness to help those in need. They approach service as a calling, not just a career.  The Service Jedi are modest heroes whose metier is to uplift others, rather than themselves.

The Service Jedi are outliers in the for-profit world of Big Businesses. They are a scarce and powerful folk who practice a rare art form of service that is admired by many, but accomplished by few. The Service Jedi have the power to transform people and experiences.

The Service Jedi may begin their journey alone, but naturally seek out others like themselves for alliances and understanding. Within the ranks of The Service Jedi, all are students. Few are masters.  Despite galactic differences between industries, Service Jedi can identify each other’s talents and appreciate their similarities. Through connection, The Service Jedi increase their power as they step away from isolation and share their hard-earned knowledge and emotional intelligence.

You may have the fine occasion to spot their work in the world. You will know it when you see them. Radical hospitality is so unusual, their work stands out.

Once you have a Service Jedi in your presence, watch them closely. Observe how they move through the room and do their work. They seek to overcome the dark forces of unhappiness, self-doubt, anger, and fear. Their weapons are kindness, compassion, and intuition. They are thoughtful, swift, intuitive and precise. Vulnerability is their asset, not their weakness. You may notice they seem to glow with a light from within.

If great service is something you crave, I suggest you seek it out. Go out of your way to advocate for radical hospitality. Endorse your favorite businesses to your friends. Tell a Service Jedi’s superior how pleased you are with their work. Support for the businesses that offer great service—even if it means paying a little extra.

If you consider yourself a Service Jedi, share what you’ve learned with others. Extend your network. Help strengthen the community of service in your community.

Use the force. The rise of The Service Jedi is in your hands.

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Brooke Burton nominated for best food writing

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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.

4 Comments

  1. […] more I do this work, the more I see how service—like the martial arts—is a spiritual practice that one can spend a lifetime working on. It’s easy to say the words “Let me be of service,” […]

  2. […] Giving generously without expectation of getting anything specific back always pays back more and in unexpected ways—even in business. […]

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